I have the best job in the world. I get to walk all around Philadelphia, meet people, and talk with them to find win-win collaboration opportunities. Creativity and innovation are required at all times for adaptations to the ever-changing environment in a diverse and bustling city. My schedule is rarely the same from one week to another—productive late night meetings and well-attended weekend health fairs make me happy. I am never bored.
Community work on the local level is challenging, yet extremely rewarding. This is the level where the lack of resources can be felt most significantly. This is also the level where the fruit of our efforts are the most direct and observable. Being the program manager for Philadelphia’s local hepatitis B coalition, driving day-to-day progress to accomplish the coalition partners’ common goals, has caused me to place high value on partnership and collaboration. There is a Chinese idiom that says “three ignorant cobblers together exceed a Zhuge Liang”. Zhuge Liang was a genius war strategist during the Three Kingdom era at the turn of the 2nd Century. The idiom emphasizes the importance of collective wisdom. Since our community partners are smart and savvy, and could never be described as “ignorant cobblers”, our collective wisdom and effort have achieved great things and made significant impacts in the Philadelphia community—even with the limited resources available to us.
Imagine my excitement when the individual local grassroots hep B campaigns from around the U.S. came together and decided to form a national coalition—Hep B United (the Philadelphia campaign becomes Hep B United Philadelphia). Having a formal national coalition will help local campaigns to become more versatile and more effective, both collectively and individually. Having a national coalition means there will be a unified body of leaders that are connected to the local efforts. They will be able to work with federal and national partners without losing touch with the local campaigns. A unified national presence and identity will also strengthen the ongoing advocacy work to raise awareness among policy makers. Within the national coalition, resource sharing will become more efficient, preventing redundancy or duplication. The quality of our communication across the nation will also improve due to a stronger infrastructure. The local campaigns will enjoy elevated profile thanks to the national-local one-two punch of increased exposure. Ultimately, all of these benefits will help us better serve our communities.
The creation of this national coalition has been in the works for months. The Hepatitis B Foundation is one of the main leaders, and has been faithfully moving the progress along throughout the whole process. As of last week, the official logo for the coalition was voted on and approved. And in the upcoming weeks, each local campaign will gradually update their materials, online and printed, in alignment with the national campaign. While getting a new name is certainly a fresh new beginning, we continue to work with the same integrity and diligence that will always be our identity.
Hep B United. Together, we cannot fail.
Kuan-Lung Daniel Chen, MPH, CPH
Public Health Program Manager
Hepatitis B Foundation